Solar Physics

The scientific activity of the group has been focused on the study and characterization of sunspot and quiet-Sun magnetic fields, through spectroscopic and spectropolarimetric measurements with a high spatial and temporal resolution. The evolution of penumbral magnetic fields in sunspots and the emergence processes of magnetic flux in the quiet Sun have been two of the main studies carried out during the last five years.
Sunspot Besides of these, the intensification mechanisms of the magnetic field in small-scale, network elements have also been studied. An investigation of the magnetic coupling of the solar atmosphere has also been started through observations of magnetic flux cancellation in the sunspot environs. Recent results from the IMaX/Sunrise mission have revealed a wealth of information on the physical state of the internetwork regions in the quiet Sun.

The discovery of magnetic jets that are produced during magnetic flux emergence, the evaluation of significant amounts of acoustic power close to those needed to explain the heating of the chromosphere and corona, the discovery horizontally oriented vortex tubes in granules, the dynamic character of the very inclined magnetic fields populating these regions, the characterization of the feet of magnetic loops in the chromosphere, and an explanation for the phenomena taking place where the granular flows bend are among the most interesting results.

In parallel, we have been working theoretically about the radiative transfer of polarized light in stellar atmospheres with the aim of developing new tools that help us to retrieve the physical properties of the solar plasma with accuracy. In this framework, we have investigated the sensitivity of spectral lines to the various atmospheric quantities and analytic expressions for the response functions of Stokes profiles in Milne-Eddington atmospheres have been obtained. Two new codes for the inversion of the radiative transfer equation for polarized light have also been developed. The MILOS code implements a one-component, Milne-Eddington model, whilst the SIRJUMP code is able to deal with abrupt discontinuities in the stratification with height of the parameters. Both codes have been used with success to the analysis of observations obtained with the Hinode satellite.

The group has also been involved in the design, development, and construction of the IMaX magnetograph, a post-focus instrument for the 1 m telescope aboard the balloon-borne Sunrise mission. Sunrise is a collaboration between the German space agency (DLR), the American NASA, and the Spanish Programa Nacional de Espacio. IMaX is a solar magnetograph fully conceived and built by a consortium of four Spanish institutions.
The IAA is responsible of the whole electronics and software of the instrument and has participated in its scientific definition. Our group currently participates in an international consortium for the construction of SO/PHI (an acronym of Solar Orbiter Polarimetric and Helioseismic Imager), a solar magnetograph that will fly aboard the ESA's Solar Orbiter mission. As a combination of the two fields of expertise, the scientific and the technological, the group has recently opened a new line of research in order to develop all the necessary tools for building specifically designed electronic devices for the inversion of the radiative transfer equation. This type of devices will constitute the heart of the scientific analysis of the observations carried out by SO/PHI. To read more click at Solar Physics Group Pages.

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